The scenic but challenging Monte Oiz climb is set to be a key feature in next season's Vuelta a España, according to Bilbao-based newspaper El Correo.
Race director Javier Guillén announced earlier this week that the upcoming Vuelta would feature between eight and 10 uphill finishes, with two of those set to visit new locations. El Correo reported on Wednesday that one of those novel finales would take place near Bilbao atop the Monte Oiz, possibly in the third week of the race and perhaps even in the decisive penultimate stage.
Running over 14 kilometres, the climb is known for its half-asphalt, half-concrete surface and its irregular ramps. With an average gradient of around six percent, the ascent includes sections that touch 17 per cent, with a two-kilometre stretch of gradients in the double digits.
After the successes of recent Vuelta stage finishes in Bilbao, regional administrators decided to up the ante with a new finishing climb.
Monte Oiz, rising 1,000 metres above the Basque Coastline, offers excellent views of the Bay of Biscay and the surrounding countryside from the top, a key factor in the decision to feature the climb, according to El Correo.
As reported in Spanish media on Monday, the 2018 Vuelta a España will set out from Málaga on August 25, 2018 with a 10km individual time trial. While the 2018 Tour de France route was unveiled earlier this month, and the Giro d'Italia is due to follow suit next month, the full route announcement for the Vuelta will not take place until January.